In 2011, 656 million international travellers visited G20 countries, which is 67% of all international tourist arrivals. With that stat, it is safe to say that international tourism contributes substantially to the economies of the G20 nations which include: South Africa; Arabia; Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; The European Union; France; Germany; Italy; India, indonesia; Japan; Korea; Mexico; Russia; Turkey; United Kingdom and The United States of America.
During the 4th Tourism Ministers Meeting of the G20 countries held in Mexico recently, it was estimated that travellers spent approximately US$ 830 billion which generated 78 million jobs.
But this is not enough for South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk who believes that more money and jobs can be generated by better facilitation of visas.
Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk believes more money and jobs can be generated by better facilitation of visas.
Research by the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation and World Travel and Tourism Council presented that in 2011, 109 million tourists visiting G20 countries required a visa. This represents 17% of the total international tourism market to the G20.
Marthinus van Schalkwyk said improvements in visa facilitation by the G.20 countries could generate up to 112 million additional international tourists by 2015, increase tourism receipts by as much as US$ 206 billion and create up to 5.1 million additional jobs during the next three years.
Van Schalkwyk said himself and his counterparts from G20 countries supported the E-Visa concept because it is an opportunity to simultaneously enhance security and facilitate travel.
But he also alluded to the ever increasing challenge of double counting and double taxation of aviation emissions. In support of his submission, he pointed out that 43% of all international tourists globally arrive by air.
He said civilian air transport, which involved some 1 570 airlines, operating 24 000 commercial aircrafts serving 3 850 airports and which connects just under 35 000 city pairs globally is the lifeblood of the tourism industry.
However he said, “Unilaterally introduced and unfair taxes on air transport or retaliatory taxes will ultimately have a negative effect on tourists and those employed in the tourism sector.
“We need a sensible and reasonable global solution. This is a transnational sector requiring a global approach,” Van Schalkwyk told delegates.